Dover Natives Remember Selma, Civil Rights Movement - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Natives Remember Selma, Civil Rights Movement

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

DOVER, Del. -- As America takes time to reflect on the 50th anniversary of a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement, Dover natives are also reflecting on how their civil rights have improved since the 1960s.

It wasn't all that long ago when lifelong Dover resident Caroline Virginia Stanley was a child attending a segregated school.

"There was two different schools," said Stanley, "Central Middle was for the whites and Booker T. Washington was for the blacks."

And it seems like just yesterday when New Jerusalem Baptist Church deacon Houston Burris sat in front of a television as a boy watching Bloody Sunday unfold in Selma.

"Seeing what was going on down there it was definitely shocking," said Deacon Burris. "Because up here even though there may have been some [racism], it was much more subtle. Not in your face."

But out of the tear gas, beatings and deaths from Bloody Sunday came the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark piece of legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

Today the generation that lived through Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement and leadership under the nation's first black president can say America is vastly different than it was 50 years ago.

"I do vote! And I think it's very very very important that we do vote," said Stanley. "Years ago a lot of people did not have the right to vote."

"I wasn't in segregated schools," said Adrienne Roach, Stanley's 32-year old granddaughter.

"I was allowed to be friends with whoever I wanted to be friends with regardless of the color of their skin. Anytime that I have an opportunity to go vote, I go vote," she said.

But some say winning the right to vote, ending segregation and prohibiting discrimination is not where the battle ends in the fight for civil rights.

"There are still people out there who take racial stereotypes into a major account in the way that they act in their life," said Jessy Haugh of Baltimore as he explained where Americans still need improvement.

"It's improved to a certain point but we can definitely make major strides," he said.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice discovered rampant racism among the Ferguson police department in Missouri, where in August 2014 the unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by former officer Darren Wilson.

Some credit these recent events as proof that America still has a long road ahead toward equality.

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